Enter the realm of the Pegasus King

All my pretty words have flown away and let out a sigh of relief because something much larger and grander than a post has been born. 

Pegasus King

The first book of the PEGASUS trilogy is now available on Amazon and Kobo.

warrior, fantasy, gods, pantheon, son of a god
Mercy at the hands of the Pegasus King is not expected.

And mercy the broken young King Andros will not receive.

On his knees before Kaden, the warrior and king of the Pegasus throne, Andros, the young and defeated king, descends into darkness. Beaten and used for the pleasure of his uncle’s henchmen, he has little but his soul left to give as he defies the gods who damned him with blood and blade. The line between battle, passion, and desire becomes blurred beyond return. Though Andros is prepared to give his kingdom wholly to the elder king to save his people, Kaden demands more.

With Andros as his oathsworn, Kaden, the Pegasus King, rides a dark horse into a world of regicide, secrets, and lies in pursuit of the younger warrior king who dares to resist him and then has the courage to bend the knee before him.

Warning: Contains detailed description of righteous defiance, graphic violence, non-con, villainous regents, gross abuse of religious power, dominance and submission, and m/m relationships.


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No Regrets

Words and Pictures - Nothing Left to Regret

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But you have to have it! Um…no, really, no


Chicago just off the Loop, early in the morning.

Please be prepared, this might come off slightly in the realm of rant. Some of my friends and I, as well as several of my family members and I have been having an ongoing conversation about the acquirement of “stuff” since Knyght and I returned to the U.S. last May.

Everything I own fits inside a three suite cases and a backpack, except for the ironing board I let Knyght buy recently to iron pants for work. My bags might not quite make weight requirements on airlines but I could make them meet the weight requirements. In full discloser, my mother keeps three plastic boxes in her attic for me, my bokkens, and somehow my wedding dress is still in her closet.

I’ll will gladly take a bow and say this is a bit extreme. Not as extreme as some! I’m not going to stay this downsized forever. There is nothing like having to carry all one’s “things” for days at a time to make one wish to own less. When Knyght and I left Japan several years ago, we downsized to a few shipped boxes, three suite cases each (two large and one carry on) and a backpack each. We lost some of the shipped boxes. It was painful for Knyght the first time but he learned. Now we’re both minimalist. Not that we had much before this start. Here’s what our bedroom looked like in Japan.


That’s Knyght. I rolled him up in our futon because he didn’t want to get up that day. I’m standing with my back against the wall. What you can’t see is our fold up table and the full closet.

We basically lived in one room all winter as it was impossible to heat the living room and the bedroom. Switching the heat source every night was unbearable. Both rooms would end up freezing, especially when the outside looked like this:


Some of my friends have suggested that now that we’re in the U.S. and planning on staying in one place for a while, we can start to acquire the trappings of “stability”, or “success”, or what is most commonly referred to as “convenience and comfort”.

I just don’t get it. Why would I want to drag myself down with more things? I’m not THAT stable yet. I’ve lived/slept in ten different places in the last twelve months. That’s not settled! That’s called being on the move. I’m going to need some distance, some serious time before I trust myself to stay in one place. Called it post trauma or realism, your choice.

There seems to be this unending pressure to acquire, to have, to possess, at least in some of the places we’ve landed in the last year. Just look at the unending ads, the social obligations to give gifts, the transient nature of what is on the shelves in the stores. You know it’s going to break and require replacement in six to twelve months! I don’t need the stress of needing money to spend like that.

Tongue in cheek here, I found the latest Star Wars episode extremely supportive of minimalism, as I’ve already written about before. Rey travel light! Granted, she needs help along the way from people who have the necessities of life like food and an extra jacket. It’s impossible to live for more than a few days that light. As a human race we would lose valuable artifacts if we were all focused on owning as little as possible. There’s a reason we don’t know very much about certain migrating peoples. As people with history and continuity, we need bastions of stability and collections of memory. I like to refer to Rivendell from Lord of the Rings when making this argument. That place was safety embodied, for travelers, for history, for a community and a viewpoint on existence. We need these places. Not all of us need to own them. We just need access, like public libraries and university collections.

My grandmother’s house is Rivendell for my family. She cares for the family heirlooms and holds the family memories. It’s a stronghold, full of the paintings, the restored one hundred-year-old trunks filled with quilts dating back decades, and the family photographs. It is a place fitted out in wood floors, exposed beams, white washed walls and cast-iron frying pans. The original room of the house was a miner’s cabin and the place has been added on to by each succeeding owner till it is now a sprawling ranch house. It didn’t start out that way, but she and my grandfather built it up, beam by beam and renovation by renovation. It’s beautiful and solid and earthy like a hobbit house. There’s meaning and family and blood in that place. And when we need it, there’s space for all of us to go back to the mother ship, rest, recover, care for each other.

Where is this bridge going?

Getting back to the topic at hand….

I’d love to build a bastion of safety and comfort someday, something full of things that will last and has walls that will stand for more than forty years. Knyght and I want to fill it with comfortable chairs and books and cast-iron pots and the smell of pie cooking in the large oven above a huge center island with a table large enough to feet twenty at a time and hide two German Shepherd sized dogs beneath. But when we’re older. When we can afford it. When we’ve had a chance to fashion and create and put it together piece by piece. No plastic! No cheap substitutes. Pieces should last. Brick. Wool. Stone. Iron. Wood. Something to leave behind that will be useful and not go into a landfill for three hundred years. I want to find this house in a museum in a thousand years.

Until then, though, why? Why weigh ourselves down and spend money on things that we might have to leave behind or pay to ship or carry? Why spend half the money now on the plastic version of something that will break in a year when we could wait and buy the “real” article that will last twenty years? I’m not unhappy. Is there a social obligation to “have”? Oh, yes. It almost seems like other people are deprived when they see someone else choosing not to “have” or “consume”.

We do not need a dozen pair of shoes. We just don’t. We don’t need six different coats. I’m not obligated to have name brand jeans. If I want to sleep on a futon for a couple of years while I’m young, that’s my choice. I’m not suffering. Actually, I’m suffering less because my bank account isn’t having a heart attack. It’s good, really. Life isn’t made out of owning stuff. It’s made out of people, like you, who ever you are, reading this right now – whether or not you want to own a dozen shoes! I like you more than a new couch. A lot more actually. You can probably move yourself most the time!

Getting the Groceries Home on a Bicycle

Grocery shopping! Note: this only works in the inner city or Japan, or China, or South Korea, or many parts of Europe…very well, it works in many parts of the world!

What’s your take? Thoughts? Possessions good? Possessions bad? What kind? Do needs change with our seasons of life of life? Chime in!


Image credits: All images owned by author.

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Night Child

Telos, the TERMS series, nightchild, fantasy

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His Majesty’s Dragon – A Terrific and Witty Read

It’s rare I find myself as entertained and drawn into a story as I was while reading Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon. This is why we should aimlessly wander libraries, for that is how I came across this first installment of what I hope will continue to be an enthralling series.

I would catalog the Temeraire Series – of which His Majesty’s Dragon is the first book – as flintlock fantasy set in the era of the Napoleonic Wars. There are hints of the Dinatopia book’s ariel squadrons.  I would also make  nod towards Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels. His Majesty’s Dragon, however, is a highly original story in its own right and I reference these other works only
The story begins when Laurence, a British navy captain is apprised that his latest capture on the high seas is carrying a dragon egg, about to hatch. Under the constraints of the needs of the ongoing war, he makes the unusual decision to harness one of his officers to the dragon upon its hatching, to keep the young dragon from going feral. There are no aerial corp officers onboard and the ship is too far out at sea for assistance. The dragon, however, is as strong-willed and well-developed as an individual as Laurence himself and chooses his own partner – for life. Laurence’s career in the Navy is finished, but not his fight for his land and country. to place Naomi Novik’s work in context within literature and to recommend it to those readers who enjoyed Dinotopia and Pern. For those who enjoy both the Sharpe series and fantasy, this is a lively blend of both.

I loved the interactions between Laurence and Temeraire, the young dragon. Novik spared nothing in fulling developing both the world of a European built around ships and dragons but also a core of fully developed characters that sprang naturally from such a world.

Five stars. Also, the editing was very good. It was the first book, self-published or traditionally published that I’ve read in a while wherein I found zero errors.


Book Cover Images:
1: Amazon.com
2: Goodreads.com
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Words and Pictures - Squirrel Who Me?

Image and adaptation owned by Ciara Darren.

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The Oscars and Book Covers

At Starbuck’s this morning, the patron in front of me in line, the two baristas behind the counter, and myself were all discussing the Oscars. None of us had actually watched the awards, though most of us had checked online briefly to see who won. I’ve been seeing the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. So, I looked for myself. Below is a picture of the Oscars this year.

Instead of watching the Oscars, Knyght and I had date night at Barnes and Nobles Bookstore. We took some time in the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Romance sections of the bookstore to analyze book covers, in relation to the aforementioned hashtag.

Romance did terrible. There was nothing darker than a spray on tan. Knyght looked, he really did. It was almost sad how hard he tried to find anything to prove me wrong. But the section was white.


As a fantasy and sci-fi fan, I was really hoping that genre would do a bit better than it did. We found one after a few minutes. The girl on Midnight Taxi Tango is of African descent. There were a lot of alien species pictures but that was about it on diversity. I don’t even remember Asians being represented last night, though I did see several of covers in the library recently that represented a broader range of humanity.


Altogether, we had slim pickings until we reached Young Adult. There are two covers in this photo of someone who are not white. The first one is on the right, second from the top. The second cover is blurry. Look near to the left bottom edge for it. It’s of a girl from ancient China. Beautiful cover, to be  honest. I’m sad that my phone did so poorly and blurred it almost entirely.


And then the next shelf over, we found another two covers that were not white.


I asked Knyght as we wandered the shelves if the racial slant being shown was caused by the deep European culture roots of the genres and as such, just gave way to figures of predominantly white descent. Perhaps I was being too harsh. Perhaps only white people read romance and sci-fi and watch films that are worthy of Oscars.


Here’s my personal struggle. My children will not be white. Their mother will be of Celtic/Western European blood and their father will be of African heritage. My nieces and nephews from at least one of my sisters will not be white. They will be half-Mexican and half Celtic/Western European. I already have an adopted niece who is half-black and half-Mexican. As much as I was enthralled reading Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry as an eleven year old, I don’t want limit the narrative my children can visually identify with to stories of racial tension and sharecropping. Much like my parents were careful not to refer derogatorily to people of other religions around me
as a child, I want to give my children the freedom to see the world as an open mosaic. At least while they are young, they shouldn’t have to imbibe a personal narrative of discrimination and hatred, from either side, black or white, or Mexican, or Chinese, or Christian or Muslim. They should have options besides the ‘hood and I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly.

My parents and grandparents gave me a beautiful gift in not continuing to teach me to hate the English or the Protestants or the Catholics or the Irish. Granted, my father’s Irish and my mother comes directly from the Mayflower. Their marriage crossed historical lines. Not necessarily for in American history, but it the racial clash does exist. At least one of my grandparents refused to attend the wedding at first because it was being held in a Protestant church. There’s a lot of bad blood, even to this day, over the Catholic/Protestant line for the Irish. But my grandparents did not pass that on. They told us about it but the narrative was “You’re American”. They wanted me to know about the history because it had shaped where we had arrived as family but they never asked me or my father to carry on the torch of rage or victimhood.

So, when I buy books for my future daughter, what will I be teaching her? That she needs to be pale like me to be a princess? That she needs to continue to nurse a hurt done to her people? And how will she internalize the fact that both stories are hers by birthright? Will she have to choose against the history and heritage I have to offer her because she’s darker than I am? The outer world will not recognize her right to it. She’s going to have to claim it. Consider the narrative that surrounds our president. He also has a white mother and a Kenyon father but his label is “black”.

Where’s this biracial narrative? Certainly not on book covers at first glance. Where do children like this fit in? And as an author and publisher, where’s my responsibility? Can I publish a stream of books with only white people on the cover and then look my daughter or niece in the face and “oh, that’s what sells”?

I was thrilled to see the latest Star Wars had a male lead who was black in the latest episode. I’ve enjoyed the Walking Dead as a popular TV show with diverse relationships and cast. There are major steps being taken that encourages me. I’ve found dolls in the full spectrum of skin tones in stores for the last ten years. There’s a market. Barbie is actually expanding it’s body style line.

But there remains a long way to go. And morally, I have my answer. No, I cannot write, commission books covers, and sell books that only represent a white narrative. And as much as I would like to say I write a human narrative, that also, is not true if I only inform it from my European culture. There is a vast resource of heritage, history, culture, and myth beyond that of Norse, Celtic, or even Roman and Greek legends which needs to be explored, especially as our societies become more diverse. It’s going to take effort. I wasn’t raised on these stories. Neither was Knyght, so it’s not easy for me to draw from his background.

Traveling has given me insights and appreciation for Chinese and Japanese storytelling. The first novel written by a women was penned by a Japanese woman and playful erotica and comedy has a long history in Japanese works, as I found out to my shock when I was shelving art history books at my first job in undergrad. The first male/male love poem I ever read was Japanese. It’s more difficult for me to pull from Chinese heritage, mostly, I believe, because of the disruption to its storytelling caused by the Cultural Revolution. However, Chinese history and monuments have definitely effected my imagination and they do inform the development of some of my future projects. There is still so much more to explore though, as a writer and as a mother and aunt of children who own multiple cultural narratives.

Do I support the #OscarsSoWhite campaign? As a grammar teacher, it makes me uncomfortable. Do I think it’s a problem? Yes. I also, however, see it as an outdated institution because it does not reflect my own experience in the world. My world is diverse. My friend group is diverse. My marriage is biracial and my family has multiple lines of heritage that I enjoy and appreciate. America has finally gained a president who represents a different racial lineage than the office has enjoyed for the previous two centuries. There are many markers pointing to better acknowledgement of the actual racial makeup of the world around us, as imbibers of media.

Scrolling through the names of those who won at the Oscars, I did see a few points of diversity. Gabriel Osorio Vargas and Patricio “Pato” Escala Pierart are both Chilean film directors. Their film Bear Story is the first animated  short Chilean film to win in that category. I’m not certain if its the first Chilean film to win an Oscar at all. It was unclear when I checked Wikipedia. Alejandro González Iñárritu, a Mexican director, also won Best Director for ‘The Revenant. British film maker Asif Kapadia whose documentary film Amy is of Muslim British Indian heritage. I have no opinion of any of these films, if they are good or not, but it seems only honest to point out that not everyone who won last night was white. As important as it is to seek recognition and inclusion of African Americans and Africans around the world, we’re only continuing the discrimination if we deny recognition of other racial groups and their accomplishments.

This is a very long post. I’m going to wrap it up here, even though there is much more to say. Here are my last thoughts for the moment. Let’s not turn this into a moment of hate or anger. I’m sure many of the films that won deserved recognition. I’m thrilled Leonardo DiCaprio finally has an Oscar. I love his work. #OscarsSoWhite is just a very obvious and loud example of something mores systemic in media. Something I think is changing in TV. And it’s going to keep changing with under the force of dollars and patronage. Although watching and reading can appear passive, it’s not. We’re making choices and shaping narrative by what we give our attention to.

So what narrative are we choosing to support? Culture, literally, is written and enforced in our media, our novels, our TV, and our comic strips. And the pieces of art and literature that are watched and read are the ones that dictate what is produced next. So what sort of future are we promoting with our “relaxation” time and our “fun nights”?


Image Credits:

Oscars: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2016/02/29/oscars-academy-awards-diversity-oscarssowhite/81075474/
Book Covers photos at store 1,2,3,and 4 by author.
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry: https://sites.google.com/a/wbsd113.org/roar-of-thunder-hear-my-cry/
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/photo.goodreads.com/books/1328867659i/407913._UY452_SS452_.jpg
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Killing Words


The Elephant Cave in Guilin on the Li River – author’s original

The following is a short essay in the form of a story based on my travels. All the places mentioned here are place I have been. Everything, except the conversation, are taken from things that happened in life. I found that wrapping these ideas up in a story worked better than writing an essay. Feel free to debate, discuss and ponder. Photographs were taken on sight or in the region by author. 


“You want to understand why,” the man said, “but you don’t. You don’t want to understand. That’s the problem with answers. Once you get them you don’t want them. They change the questions. And the truth….you want the truth, you say. That’s a whole different pile of garbage, because there isn’t such thing…to say at least. If you find truth….well ….you know it. When you find, you know it, and there isn’t a man or woman in this world that can say it. Words just don’t cover something ineffable like… truth.”

Mariah shifted in her seat. The Li River was moving slowly between its banks past her right shoulder and behind her lights lit up the Elephant Cave’s ancient poetic inscriptions. She clutched her purse in both of her hands under the table and reminded herself to sit up straight. The man across the table from her gazed vaguely into the distance. He sighed heavily and raised one gnarled hand with a green bottle of beijiu* to his lips. “Young ones like you shouldn’t have to deal with things like truth,” he said. The bottom of the bottle slid upwards, reflecting back the lights from the river. His Adam’s apple moved like a dingy on the tide and he dropped the empty bottle onto the table. It joined its wasted brothers on the man’s left. A waitress appeared with another, already opened, and he took it wordlessly.

“How young are you, anyway?” he said.

“Twenty-two,” Mariah said.  She spoke so evenly her American accent barely showed.

“Young,” the man said.

Mariah looked down at the table. It was covered with a red checked cloth, each check two point five centimeters on each side. The lines fell across the rounded table diagonally, if you were looking at it from her perspective and backwards diagonally if you were looking at it from the man’s perspective or…Mariah pulled her thoughts away from the table cloth.

“I wasn’t asking for the truth,” she whispered. “The lie everyone else knows would work, for now.”

The man paused in the act of bringing the fresh bottle to his lips. “But if you know it’s a lie,” he said, “would you be satisfied?”

“Not today, but maybe someday, it would be enough,” Mariah said.

“And if I told you the truth…”

“You already said you can’t, words can’t…say it,” Mariah said.

“You want to know why he’s here,” the man said.

Mariah nodded, more like jerked her head. Her tight curls barely moved and her lips pursed lightly. It was her eyes that gave her away, large, framed in brown and blue like a summer sky.

“I can’t tell you, but I can show you,” the man said. He shoved himself to his feet and yelled at the waitress. “Fuwuyuan!”*

Mariah flinched.

The waitress appeared with a plastic plate and a slip of paper covered in scrawled hanzi. The man dumped currency on the table and shuffled towards the door.

“I can’t say that this won’t change you,” he said. “I’m not promising to keep you safe. Just like that book says, you pay the price, for knowing. An’ usually…you level that cursed price on yourself.”

Mariah nodded, another nervous jerk of her head. The man muttered in Mandarin and started down the sidewalk.  There were animal cages in front of many of the restaurant, filled with rabbits, snakes, hamsters. Some of the restaurants had large tanks filled with different species from fresh and salt water sources, including one lone octopus. Mariah shivered as she passed it. There was a variety of chickens, ducks and other types of fowl that Mariah couldn’t identify. Desperately, Mariah told herself not to look the fuzzy bunny rabbits in the eye.  She’s heard of people who became vegetarians out of pity for animals. The pork from her last meal was coming back to haunt her with large doe like eyes and fuzzy imitations of Wilber from Charlotte’s web. It was her favorite book in grade school and Mariah was wondering now why she had ever been able to eat pork since.

The man turned off from the restaurant street, crossed over a bridge and then through a gate. There was another bridge to cross after that and then steps down to the water. The man stopped at the edge of the water and pointed outwards.

“You ever wonder where things come from?” he said.

Mariah gave her signature nod, but when he didn’t say anything else she realized he hadn’t seen her. “Yes, sometimes,” she said.

“Look down into the water, been here as long as the earth itself, moving flowing, rising like steam, boiling in a volcano, freezing in a blizzard, laying for a thousand years inside a glacier, been here forever, right?”

Another head jerk.

“So whenever you touch water, you’re touching history, right?”


“You’re touching something that has touched something that has changed life. Maybe this water that you’re watching now fell as rain when Hannibal was marching against Rome. Maybe some of this water washed away the blood from sweating slaves marching towards their fates on the slave ships in Northern Africa. Maybe some of it was even there, when Mohammad’s fourth wife marched against her enemies, a small, highly prized bit of mist on the hot sands.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Mariah said. Her voice wavered slightly.Rice Terraces in China at evening

“You think you’re alone in the world, right? That you’re one person, all belonging to yourself, single, differentiated, autonomously yourself and only yourself, the boundaries of your physical body clearing defining the limits and uniqueness of who you are and that you are you and no one else is you and you are no one else.”

“That’s why we’re called individuals,” Mariah said.

“It’s a lie,” the man said. “You aren’t just you anymore than this water is just water in the Li River. All of history is flowing down this river, from all over the world, just like all of human history is etched into you. Doesn’t matter if you’re conscious of it, anymore than it matters if the river is conscious of everything in it. You drink water, you drink the past. You eat a carrot, you eat a form of the soil that the carrot comes from, soil that forms the lives of trees and plants and animals and people that have decayed and become the soil. You are a product of the past, and you can never get away from it. Not if you want to live.”

“I don’t understand,” Mariah said.

“Don’t expect understanding,” the man said. He pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it. It glowed dully against the deepening darkness of the night sky. “’Expected you to listen. Said words couldn’t say truth now, didn’t I? Just ‘cause you don’t understand, doesn’t mean you stop listening. That’s a problem these days, with people. They won’t listen to stuff they don’t understand, so they never understand nothing more than what managed to crawl into their brains from the back door when they weren’t lookin’.”

Mariah shifted uncomfortably. 

“If you knew you were like the river, with all of history running through you, but no one else knew, how do you think that would feel? If you had all the love and passion and pain and grief from all of history running through you, like the Elephant Cave over there does, scraping at you, tearing pieces of you away and leaving pieces of itself behind but no one else could see, and no one else can understand, as you slowly change and crumble and become someone else that no one accepts and no one understands and they keep asking where the old you is, but that person…that person is so far gone you can’t even clearly remember and you can’t make it stop and couldn’t, wouldn’t…ever…make it stop…but the pain of the rejection…and the look in the people’s eyes who say they’re your friend just keeps building and building….what would you do?”

“I’d….I don’t know,” Mariah said.

“You came, asking for the truth,” the man said.

“Yes,” said Mariah.

“If you’re not the person that was friends with the people who used to know what was inside your body, and they kept trying to be friends with the person who you were, is there truth there?”

“No.” Mariah twisted her hands around her purse.

“You said you wanted truth. So does he.”

“What truth is here, why does he need to be here for truth!“

“It’s not ‘here’ that has truth,” the man said. “It’s any place but the place he came from that has truth. Any place where the one that was him before has never been.”

“Because we don’t know him,” Mariah whispered.

“You do know him. Like you know anyone on the street, or any piece of grass, or particle of water in the river, or air that has been breathed a thousand timed and cleansed a million more in the forest.” The man paused and drug slowly at his cigarette. “That’s how you know him. That’s the only way you know him.”

“And who he was….”

“Is like the animals and plants that died and decayed to feed the carrot. He’s the carrot. Everything that was fed into him, but he is not that which was.”

Mariah stared at the water. “I think you killed me,” she said.

“No, didn’t kill you,” the man said. “I killed the girl that sat down across from me in her shiny pink shoes and her perfect brown suite. The girl I’m talking to was just born. Expect she’ll die shortly, and there will be someone else wearing those shining shoes, if that person even likes them.”

“If I died, then why am I still feeling the pain that the one you killed felt?”

“Because you’re the carrot. You’re alive, but only because of death. So parts of everything that died to make you, is still in you.”

“I don’t like being the carrot.”

“You don’t now,” the man said. He stood up straighter, took off his hat and combed his hair back behind his ears, looking Mariah straight in the eyes, “but someday, if you die the right deaths and get born in the right births, you might.”

“You’re….him.” The words left Mariah’s mouth in a breathy whisper.

“Are you sure?” the man said.

“No,” Mariah said, “you’re…. the carrot.”

The man smiled, a little bitterness, a little wisdom in his eyes.

“And you’re the river.”

“I’m not big enough to be the river.”

“And I’m not small enough to be a carrot.”

Mariah smiled. “I think I’m dying again,” she said. There were tears on the edge of her voice

“How’s it feel?”

“I don’t know….like… living, for the first time.” Mariah laughed.

“Shall I tell you something true?” the man said.

“No,” Mariah said. She shook her head. “I don’t want to hear you lie.”


*Beijiu = Mandarin for beer

*Fuwuyuan = Mandarin for waitress

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Traveling like Rey

Have you ever noticed how light some of fantasy characters travel? How little some of them exist on? It’s amazing. I was watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens recently, like many other people on planet Earth and was struck by what the the characters traveled with. Very little time spent worrying about possessions and much more time spent worrying about others and ideals. For example, this is all Rey had when she jumped on the nearly junked Millennium Falcon. It’s pretty basic, but tough and lasts her through a desert and a winter planet. As someone born in a desert, it’s pretty cold come sundown.

Personally, I would have wanted a bag with at least a passport and two or three items in it, but Rey made it work.

Then there’s Strider/Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. This is how he travels.

Yes, there is one pony with them, but frankly, Strider picked him up in Bree the day before this because the hobbits needed second breakfast. Ok, and they would be traveling quickly, not hunting much along the way, most likely. As a Ranger, he’s carrying most, if not all, his gear.

Extreme examples? Quite so! But pointed. These are characters who had to pick and go, to survive and to be successful in their goals. What they took with them was what was most important.

Their possessions and gear are also, intrinsically, part of who they are as characters. Rey is a pared down and raw character. She’s very direct and her goals are stated quite early on, survival and waiting for those who left her to come back. She’s too poor to have much more than that.

What do our possessions say about us. We are, after all, characters, are we not? Our own characters? If you only had a backpack, what would you carry?

Here’s my list. Fair warning, I’m cheating. I’ve actually done this, more than once, so I know it works.

  1. Backpack.
  2. Wear one pair of pants, pack one pair of pants.
  3. Underwear (aims for five pairs of lowers and one change of upper, if you wear those).
  4. At least four pairs of socks.
  5. Couple of shirts.
  6. Laptop (I’m a writer. Like Strider and his sword, it’s my tool).
  7. Laptop cord.
  8. Camera, small.
  9. Journal.
  10. Two pens, black ink.
  11. Wear coat and sweater.
  12. Artemis, my good luck charm.
  13. Power cords for everything.
  14. One pair of earrings (worn not packed).
  15. One paperback book, usually traded or given away during the journey.
  16. One flat comb.
  17. Toothbrush, no toothpaste (toothpaste can’t get past most airport security and its cheap – same goes for soap and conditioner.)
  18. Depending location and plans, one nice dress and flats. Usually, it’s more fun to buy something local.

That’s my list.

What’s yours?

Are you a Terminator, arriving with nothing?

A Rey, arriving with some clothes and a few tools?

A sensible two saddlebags roaming wizard?

A keep-it-all-in-the-car like the Winchesters?

A merchant traveling with a caravan of camels to bear the weight of all your chests?

This guy?


Image credits: 
Rey: https://slipthroughmovies.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/star-wars-the-force-awakens-as-long-as-there-is-light-there-is-hope/
Strider gif: http://l-o-t-r.tumblr.com/post/62857955024/gondory-a-day-like-today-in-middle-earth
Pony who needs a rescue: http://www.demeterclarc.com/tag/packing/
If your photo/image has been used and you do not wish it to appear here, please inform me and it will be taken down. All images were sources from the credits above or are owned by author.  
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You’ll only know…

Words and Pictures -You'll only know if you keep walking

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